Column by Carolyn Quimby

Carolyn Quimby

I have a confession to make, Oracle readers. It is something that I have been denying for far too long, but I think that it’s finally time to admit it.

I have road rage.

Not the “occasional honk-the-horn and give the middle finger” road rage, but full-blown, screaming like Christian Bale on his worst day. It’s a little embarrassing to admit, because I don’t usually vocalize my anger. I tend to internalize things and passively aggressively express my frustrations, but all bets are off when I’m behind the wheel. In the car there are only two sides of my emotional spectrum: I’m either completely calm, bobbing my head to Simon & Garfunkel or Adele, or I’m cursing at fellow drivers and everyone that they have ever loved.

It doesn’t matter where I’m driving or going, I’m completely calm until something sets me off. The smallest things, like people stopping short or driving too slow in front of me, leave me red-faced, white-knuckled and cursing behind the wheel. Some things are worse than others. Not using the turn signal is probably my biggest pet peeve. It is the simplest thing you can do; you only have to flick of a finger. Have we really become so lazy that we cannot flick the turn signal? I am not a mind reader nor do I aspire to be one, so please use your blinker so I don’t slam into your bumper.

I suppose that I’ve always known that I become agitated behind the wheel, but driving upstate has made me aware of just how easily it happens. I learned how to drive on Long Island which I would argue has some of the most aggressive and horrible drivers on Earth. Yes, hyperbole intended. The Long Island Expressway (L.I.E.) is a dog-eat-dog world where the weakest are left to chug slowly in the right lane. I think the fast paced driving on the L.I.E. is why I get frustrated so easily on the winding roads of New Paltz and the surrounding areas. Don’t get me wrong, there are few things that I love more than the mountains in the fall, but I cannot handle how the roads are one lane. I always seem to be stuck behind the person who religiously follows the speed limit or the person who is constantly braking for no apparent reason.

I really love to drive and, contrary to everything in this column, find it very relaxing. There’s something beautiful about the way the open road seems to unfurl itself endlessly. I love driving; I just cannot stand the people who are driving around me. Hopefully we don’t meet on the road, but if we do, please use your blinker.